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By Published On: October 31st, 2011

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have very similar feelings about competitive obedience as I do about beauty pageants. It’s not that the women in the competition are not beautiful or clever or don’t look stunning in a bathing suit wearing heels. That they can walk so elegantly in those heels has always been a source of envy to me. That they have the nerve to parade in front of cameras and crowds in a bathing suit is another. But who decided that the beauty exemplified by these women was the standard I should be striving for?

I am not finding fault with people who choose to do competitive obedience with their dogs, so don’t get your knickers in a twist. It’s fantastic to set your sights on training your dog with specific criteria in mind, and then taking it on the road and see how you’ve done. However it often seems that this is the only meaningful standard that some will acknowledge as proof positive of a trainer’s and dog’s skill. When I watch competitions I see joyous dogs, their tails wagging, big smiles, waiting for the next cue, and I see dogs that I want to snatch and trade their stilettos for sneakers and the ball gown for jeans.

Here’s my fearful dog Sunny. He’ll never have any titles but he’s got the crown bestowed by the judges of my heart.

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